We have heard the word first aid very frequently; we know that knowing this skill can save someone’s life and are taught about first aid in a lot of school curriculums of different states as well as the schooling programs run by the central government. The skills basically provide us with the general knowledge to help a person in physical distress.
But what if the distress isn’t physical? What if the pain and suffering caused by it is an even greater threat to a person’s life? For many years these questions would have been left unanswered but fortunately in today’s day and age we have the concept of Emotional First Aid.
Firstly, we’ll look at some factors that can cause Psychological/Emotional Injury:
· Rejection: at work, by a friend, spouse, etc. Can cause distress and lack of self-esteem and kill your confidence.
· Failure: when we fail to reach a desired outcome, it can really upset us. Left untreated it can develop into a serious mental health issue.
· Loneliness: it can make us feel unwanted and alienated from the rest of the society.
· Loss: loss of friends or family can really weaken us emotionally and mentally.
· Guilt: guilt can really hijack our attention and make it difficult to concentrate on daily tasks. It can leave a scar in our memory and make us feel unworthy of love from self and others.
When these emotional injuries are left unchecked, they might grow over time into full blown psychological disorders and inhibit our ability to live out our day to day life with happiness and fulfillment. These are only a few factors and they may differ in their degree of seriousness and impact from person to person.
Here are some strategies for Emotional First Aid:
1. Developing Awareness: to solve any problem we must understand and recognize when we’re feeling emotional pain and why are we feeling so bad after all. An easy way would be to have an open conversation with an empathetic listener who you can trust and share how you might be feeling at the moment, this can be a close friend or a teacher or school counselor or a family member.
2. Be Compassionate: whether you’re dealing with a friend who might be experiencing distress or it is you who is going through something, be compassionate and do not blame them/yourself for making mistakes and for feeling the way they/you might be feeling as it may make things from bad to worse, instead try to focus your energy into being kind and trying to understand what is causing that distress.
3. Using Positive Distraction: emotional pain can be really taxing and make you feel drained of all your energy, in these negative times we can use positive and healthy distractions to make us not feel so bad. This can include things like going for a walk in nature, playing sports or working out, listening to happy and relaxing songs or going for a long drive. We all have our preferences but it is important to choose an uplifting activity to distract ourselves from negative emotions.
These strategies are highly effective to cope with general emotional distress and you should work on recognizing which one works for you the best.
If you continue to feel emotional distress on a regular basis and it is causing dysfunction in your daily life then you should consider going to a therapist and seeking professional help to improve your condition. Today with the continuous de-stigmatization of mental health conditions and enhancement in the quality and quantity of treatments available there is hope for everyone.